Around the Watershed: News and Events

“Big Night” Amphibian Migration Saturday?

Posted on: February 24th, 2017 by Leslie_Zucker

With the snow pack sat­u­rated on Ashokan Water­shed moun­tain­sides, we may be primed for a snowmelt event that fills small wood­land pools and chan­nels. Small wood­land pools are prime habi­tat for amphib­ian breed­ing. In early spring, after the ground has started to thaw, species like spot­ted sala­man­der and wood frog emerge from under­ground win­ter shel­ters in the for­est and walk over­land to breed­ing pools. Accord­ing to the NYSDEC Hud­son River Estu­ary Pro­gram, in our region, this migra­tion occurs on rainy nights when the night air tem­per­a­ture is above 40F. When these con­di­tions align just so, there can be explo­sive (“big night”) migra­tions, with hun­dreds of amphib­ians on the move. Cur­rently, the Sat­ur­day fore­cast includes rain dur­ing the day and into the evening, with tem­per­a­tures stay­ing above 40F after nightfall.

Dri­vers are encour­aged to pro­ceed with cau­tion or avoid travel on the first warm, rainy evenings of the sea­son. Amphib­ians come out after night­fall and are slow mov­ing; mor­tal­ity can be high even on low-traffic roads. You can help by telling the NYSDEC when and where you see migra­tions of wood­land pool amphib­ians. To learn more, visit DEC’s Amphib­ian Migra­tion and Road Cross­ings web­page, which includes safety infor­ma­tion for vol­un­teers and an amphib­ian iden­ti­fi­ca­tion guide.

CCE is Hiring Educators for AWSMP

Posted on: February 22nd, 2017 by Leslie_Zucker

Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion (CCE) of Ulster County is hir­ing two new posi­tions to sup­port the AWSMP’s edu­ca­tion and stream assess­ment efforts. A part-time Water­shed Edu­ca­tor will help to deliver com­mu­nity and vol­un­teer edu­ca­tion pro­grams from May-November. A full-time, per­ma­nent Stream Edu­ca­tor posi­tion will work on the sum­mer stream assess­ment crew and deliver edu­ca­tion and out­reach about stream man­age­ment rec­om­men­da­tions. Both posi­tions are sta­tioned at the AWSMP’s office in Shokan, NY. Appli­ca­tion infor­ma­tion can be found at the CCE jobs web­site.

Save the Date! Ashokan Watershed Conference on April 29

Posted on: February 21st, 2017 by Brent Gotsch

How do we sus­tain local eco­nomic devel­op­ment in a chang­ing envi­ron­ment? That is the topic of a day-long con­fer­ence in the Ashokan Water­shed on April 29, 2017. The con­fer­ence will be held at The Ashokan Cen­ter in Olive­bridge, NY. Con­fer­ence ses­sions will focus on cli­mate change, sus­tain­able eco­nomic devel­op­ment, com­mu­nity plan­ning, inva­sive species, local fish­eries, and DEP reser­voir oper­a­tions. Plan­ning board and zon­ing board of appeals mem­bers can receive cer­tifi­cates for attend­ing four hours of training.

This year, AWSMP is excited to offer a co-occurring “Stream Explor­ers” youth con­fer­ence also on April 29 at The Ashokan Cen­ter. The “Stream Explor­ers” youth con­fer­ence will be most appro­pri­ate for chil­dren ages 8–14 or grades 3–8. All youth must be accom­pa­nied by a fam­ily mem­ber attend­ing the Ashokan Water­shed Con­fer­ence. The youth con­fer­ence will fea­ture hands-on out­door activ­i­ties taught by CCE edu­ca­tors dur­ing the morn­ing, and an after­noon gorge hike adven­ture in the after­noon. Chil­dren will join their fam­i­lies for lunch in the con­fer­ence din­ing hall.

Reg­is­tra­tion for the con­fer­ence will begin on March 15. Please visit the con­fer­ence web­site for updates and infor­ma­tion as it becomes available.

2017 Bare Root Sale is On!

Posted on: February 2nd, 2017 by Leslie_Zucker

Atten­tion water­shed res­i­dents and stream­side landown­ers. The Ulster County Soil and Water Con­ser­va­tion District’s (SWCD) home office in High­land, NY is announc­ing their annual tree and shrub sale. The order form must be received by Fri­day, March 31, 2017.

Many of the species included in the sale are native to the Ashokan water­shed and make great addi­tions to stream­side veg­e­ta­tion.  Healthy and diverse stream­side veg­e­ta­tion plays an impor­tant role in sta­bi­liz­ing stream­banks and resist­ing erosion.

But­ton Bush, Red Osier Dog­wood, Speck­led Alder and Sand­bar Wil­low are all great shrubs to incor­po­rate into stream­side plant­i­ngs. As you work your way up the stream­bank, Paper Birch, Sugar Maple and Swamp White Oak are excel­lent addi­tions to tran­si­tion to an upland for­est setting.

For stream buffer related ques­tions or help with select­ing appro­pri­ate veg­e­ta­tion, con­tact Bobby Tay­lor at Bobby.Taylor@ashokanstreams.org, or (845) 688‑3047 ext.6 with the Ulster County SWCD and AWSMP Catskill Streams Buffer Coordinator.

Good luck Caroline!

Posted on: February 1st, 2017 by Leslie_Zucker

Part-time edu­ca­tor Car­o­line Stup­ple is leav­ing the AWSMP to pur­sue a full-time job in sus­tain­abil­ity. Car­o­line joined the AWSMP in May 2016. You may have met Car­o­line at the Ulster County Fair, Shan­daken Day or Olive Day; at an inva­sive plant removal project; or while con­duct­ing a sum­mer stream study. Car­o­line helped to deliver stream sci­ence edu­ca­tion to over 2,000 res­i­dents last year! Please join us in wish­ing Car­o­line the best of luck with her new posi­tion. Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion (CCE) will be rehir­ing the part-time, tem­po­rary edu­ca­tor posi­tion with AWSMP later this spring.

Caroline Stupple with Floodplain Model

CCE Edu­ca­tor Car­o­line Stup­ple demon­strates the flood­plain model to students.

FEMA Sending Notifications on Flood Insurance Changes

Posted on: January 13th, 2017 by Brent Gotsch

In 2014, the Home­owner Flood Insur­ance Afford­abil­ity Act (HFIAA) was signed into law. Part of the leg­is­la­tion requires that FEMA com­mu­ni­cate flood risk deter­mi­na­tions to indi­vid­ual prop­erty own­ers. FEMA is cur­rently review­ing every flood insur­ance pol­icy and will be writ­ing to all National Flood Insur­ance Pro­gram (NFIP) pol­icy hold­ers to explain the cur­rent risk level for their prop­erty. Start­ing this month (Jan­u­ary 2017) pol­icy hold­ers will begin receiv­ing let­ters from FEMA approx­i­mately two months prior to their pol­icy renewals. FEMA will mail a let­ter at each sub­se­quent renewal.

The NFIP has iden­ti­fied seven cat­e­gories of pol­i­cy­hold­ers to receive unique infor­ma­tion based on their risk and cur­rent pre­mium rates. To read more about what each cat­e­gory means and if it applies to you please visit this FEMA Web­site. If you have ques­tions about Flood Insur­ance Rate Maps (FIRMs) or how flood insur­ance is rated select staff at the AWSMP can help answer your ques­tions or direct you to other resources. Please call 845–688-3047 ext.3 for assis­tance. If you have ques­tions about your spe­cific flood insur­ance pol­icy then you should con­tact your insur­ance agent directly.

AWSMP Announces 2016 SMIP Awards

Posted on: January 9th, 2017 by Leslie_Zucker

The Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram (AWSMP) awarded $516,602 in 2016 to sup­port stream man­age­ment imple­men­ta­tion. The Stream Man­age­ment Imple­men­ta­tion Pro­gram funds were awarded for projects to com­plete stream-related infra­struc­ture improve­ments, com­mu­nity flood mit­i­ga­tion plan­ning, stream and flood­plain man­ager train­ing, and research and mon­i­tor­ing in sup­port of stream man­age­ment. The most recent awards were reviewed and approved by the AWSMP Stake­holder Coun­cil at their Novem­ber meet­ing. In 2016, projects were awarded to the Town of Olive, Town of Shan­daken, and Ulster County Depart­ment of Pub­lic Works. A spe­cial request for pro­pos­als was issued to fund stud­ies that meet pri­or­ity sci­ence needs in the Ashokan Water­shed. Pri­or­ity sci­ence need were estab­lished by a work­ing group of the AWSMP Stake­holder Coun­cil. Awards to com­plete research and mon­i­tor­ing stud­ies were made to the U.S. Geo­log­i­cal Sur­vey, Stan­tec Con­sult­ing Ser­vices Inc., and SUNY New Paltz. For more infor­ma­tion on the funded projects, see this press release.

Shandaken-Allaben Local Flood Analysis Kick-Off

Posted on: December 7th, 2016 by Leslie_Zucker

Tues­day, Decem­ber 20 at 6:30pm at the Shan­daken Town Hall is the first pub­lic meet­ing to kick-off a Local Flood Analy­sis in the ham­lets of Allaben and Shan­daken in the Town of Shan­daken. Res­i­dents are encour­aged to join the Shan­daken Flood Com­mit­tee (aka “SAFARI”) as they begin the detailed flood analy­sis for the ham­lets. Work­ing with SAFARI, con­sult­ing firm Milone and MacB­room will carry out the analy­sis to: 1) deter­mine the causes of inten­si­fied flood­ing and eval­u­ate solu­tions; and 2) design and imple­ment projects to alle­vi­ate flood­ing and reduce haz­ards. Pub­lic input is needed to develop fea­si­ble and com­mu­nity sup­ported projects for imple­men­ta­tion. See the Town of Shan­daken web­page on flood mit­i­ga­tion for more information.

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CSBI Program Accepting Applications

Posted on: December 5th, 2016 by Leslie_Zucker
A restored stream buffer along Birch Creek in the Ashokan Watershed.

A restored stream buffer along Birch Creek in the Ashokan Watershed.

The Catskill Streams Buffer Ini­tia­tive (CSBI) works closely with landown­ers to restore or enhance stream buffers on their prop­erty. Once a landowner is accepted into the pro­gram, CSBI will remove inva­sive plants from stream­side areas, and pro­vide and install native plants based on a plan devel­oped with the landowner.

This past year, the CSBI pro­gram worked with Menla Moun­tain House, the Catskill Inter­pre­tive Cen­ter, and other prop­erty own­ers to restore Catskill trees and shrubs along streams. The ben­e­fits of veg­e­tated stream buffers are numer­ous. Plants can buffer streams from pol­lu­tants run­ning off nearby lands or roads. Stream buffers help to sta­bi­lize stream banks, shade and cool stream water, and pro­vide nutri­ents and habi­tat for fish and aquatic insects.

To par­tic­i­pate in the CSBI pro­gram, landown­ers need only call the AWSMP office at (845) 688‑3047 x3 or email Bobby Tay­lor to sched­ule a site visit and dis­cuss whether the CSBI pro­gram is right for your site. Landown­ers can also down­load an appli­ca­tion and apply directly to the CSBI pro­gram now. Click here to be directed to the appli­ca­tion on the CSBI website.

If you are unable to par­tic­i­pate in a stream buffer restora­tion project, you can still have a large impact by pre­serv­ing healthy stream­side areas already pop­u­lated by native plants. Main­tain­ing stream buffers ensures that native fish and wildlife don’t suf­fer from loss of habi­tat, and aren’t harmed by poor water quality.

Here are some things you can do as a landowner to pro­tect stream buffers:

  • Main­tain no-mow and no-cut zones along your stream banks. Estab­lish native herba­ceous plants, or trees and shrubs that pro­vide excel­lent bank armor­ing with root sys­tems that min­i­mize ero­sion and pro­vide impor­tant habi­tat and resources for wildlife.
  • Iden­tify and remove inva­sive plants as soon as you notice them. Small stands of inva­sive plants are eas­ier to erad­i­cate than larger, estab­lished stands. Make sure to prop­erly dis­pose of all removed plant mate­r­ial to ensure the plants can’t spread fur­ther. For help with iden­ti­fy­ing inva­sive plants, see this guide on Com­mon Inva­sive Species of Catskill Ripar­ian Areas.
  • Help edu­cate other com­mu­nity mem­bers and stream­side landown­ers about the impor­tance of stream buffers and how to main­tain them.

Ashokan Rail Trail Public Information Meeting

Posted on: November 29th, 2016 by Leslie_Zucker

The Ulster County “Ashokan Rail Trail” Project includes sev­eral stream cross­ings in the Ashokan Water­shed. To learn more about the Rail Trail Project, attend a Pub­lic Infor­ma­tion Meet­ing on Decem­ber 1, 2016 at 7 p.m. at the Onte­ora High School, Boiceville. A flyer for the event is here.